400 CCTV cams sought at key CR stations after security audit
Mumbai: More than 400 cameras have been proposed on key Central Railway (CR) stations following a security audit conducted last year which showed that more electronic surveillance was needed. The audit, jointly conducted by the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF), also mentioned how Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) was open on all sides, which invited unauthorised access.
The two security forces have now decided to jointly man entries and exits to stations.
Eleven stations on the CR were surveyed; these were CSMT, Dadar, Kurla, Thane, LTT, Kalyan, Dombivli, Panvel, Karjat, Vashi and Wadala. Six of these are covered under the Integrated Security System (ISS) mooted after the 26/11 attacks.
It was found that some locations had either no CCTV coverage or it was very poor. "Two-hundred-and-six cameras have been proposed for the six stations covered under ISS. A hundred-and-ninety-six cameras have been proposed at the remaining five stations. At present, there are rented cameras at these five stations.
We are also expected to get cameras under the Nirbhaya Fund," said a senior RPF official.
Activists say merely more cameras will not help if these are not of a high resolution. On December 15, a man entered the ladies compartment of a Harbour local at CSMT just as it started, snatched a passenger's cellphone and jumped out. The GRP registered a case of theft and said that CCTV grabs of the accused were not very clear.
Unauthorised entries and exits are a pressing problem.
The RPF shut down one unauthorised entry near a dargah at CSMT. But LTT is worry as the platforms can be accessed freely from anywhere. The railways had announced plans to develop LTT and Thane into world-class stations.
This would consist of renovation and redevelopment of station buildings, platform surfaces and the surrounding areas. "All other plans to make infrastructural changes to these stations are currently on hold," said a railway official.
Last January, a 12-year-old boy, Randhir Sahni, was killed and dumped in a suitcase at LTT. The police arrested six people for luring him with other children from Bihar for a workshop job. In January 2014, Esther Anuhya, a TCS employee, arrived at LTT from Andhra Pradesh when a driver, Chandrabhan Sanap, offered her a lift to her Andheri hostel.
He raped and killed her in the bushes off the Eastern Express Highway at Bhandup, setting the body on fire. He was awarded death by a special women's court in 2015.
"Besides joint manning of entry-exit gates with the GRP, we have roped in 259 personnel from the Maharashtra State Security Corporation for it. Most of these are women.
They have been trained in behaviour with commuters and crowd management," an RPF official said.